Originally created 01/08/97

Bill Kirby - `Typical' family is obsolete



The greatest thing in family life is to take a hint when a hint is intended.
- Robert Frost

Remember the old statistical stories that would talk about the typical American family - daddy, mama and 2.5 kids?

And somebody would always make a joke about the 2.5 kids? "Never saw a 0.5 kid," they'd say, and the first five times or so, it was funny.

Well, today it turns out, it isn't true. There is no typical family, because no one combination of family members is dominant.

New figures from the Census Bureau show that the nation's households are occupied by all sorts of family arrangements with no single one in the majority.

Actually, the most common household - representing nearly 29 percent of all U.S. households - is one occupied by a married couple without children at home.

Just over 25 percent of households are married couples with children 18 or younger at home.

Likewise, people living alone account for exactly 25 percent of all households. Every other combination accounts for less than 10 percent.

MAILBAG: Here's how you can help Mrs. Urena's class at Lakeland Elementary School, Bury Drive, Syracuse, N.Y. 13209.

They write: "We are a fourth-grade class in central New York. Currently we are studying U.S. geography. We would appreciate receiving post cards from your area. They will be used for a bulletin board display."

TODAY IN HISTORY: On Jan. 8, 1933, Jefferson County native Roy Harris, an Augusta lawyer, was chosen speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives.

VOTING DRIVE: This just in. Five members of the Richmond County school board have voted themselves into Baseball's Hall of Fame.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: "Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going to the garage makes you a car." - Laurence Peter.

NOW THEY TELL US: If you really want to lose weight and shape up in 1997, don't make it a resolution, says Dr. Gary Ewing, a University of South Carolina School of Medicine faculty member who studies obesity.

Resolutions often set up people for failure. Instead, Dr. Ewing suggests, use January as a time to get going and make sensible changes in diet.

TODAY'S JOKE: It was the long-awaited day of the trial, and poor McWaters was jittery as a cat as the jury filed into the room and took their seats. He leaned nervously toward his lawyer and whispered, "Hey, how come the other guy has two lawyers?"

His attorney patted him on the shoulder and said, "Don't worry, it's a very common practice. One of them does the thinking and the other one does the talking."

McWaters thought for a second, then asked, "So, who's doing your thinking?"